Controversy stirs over Musical.ly app

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Mikayla Bowen and Antonio Lopez scroll through Instagram in their spare time. Photo by Vivienne Aguilar.
Mikayla Bowen and Antonio Lopez scroll through Instagram in their spare time. Photo by Vivienne Aguilar.

Internet safety is important to discuss with your children, especially if you find them using the app Musical.ly. The issue with Musical.ly is that anyone, presumably including predators, has simple and free access to videos in which children are dancing in sexually suggestive ways.

Delta students Mikayla Bowen, Antonio Lopez and Izaak Valdez confirm that these types of inappropriate videos occur often on Instagram. They came to a consensus that the videos are “cringy.” Since the clips are so commonplace, they don’t pay much attention to them and never find themselves searching for them.

The Instagram page @musicallyrelated posts split screen videos of a 13-year-old “fans” imitating 15-year-old “Idols.” The majority of the videos consist of two young ladies who both look younger than 16 years old. The fan appears to be significantly younger. The dance accentuates the hips, breasts, and butt of the young girls and is readily available to the public.

These 15 or more second videos commonly consist of minors both male and female committing lustful acts to any genre of music or sound clip. Smartphones and other camera/wifi equipped devices are consuming the attention of people in our world today. It is no surprise that the self objectification of children goes unnoticed by parents.

These videos are usually made by girls in their bedrooms and they typically wear shirts cut into crop tops and folded pajama shorts, to make them even shorter. As a child of this generation Z I can understand the complexities of parenting in our age of technology. I do not condone following your child’s every move, never trusting them, but maybe follow them on their social media accounts and check their content occasionally. This Musical.ly business can put children at risk.

Cheyenne Ehrlich, founder of The SaferKid Sentinel, used the Musical.ly app for fifteen minutes and said he found  accounts he believed are predatory. He believes that the accounts are run by adults seeking children under age sex partners on the app. The bios of the perverted pages, according to Ehrlich tend to say things like, “No age restrictions here”, “Send me really nasty stuff”, or “13 and up Are Allowed to message me.”

Cute musically couples page on youtube has over 300k subscribers. Videos show underage couples grinding and kissing. Comments below these videos suggest that these types of videos lower the self esteem of children watching. They want to be the “perfect couples” seen in the videos and obsess about how lonely they are. Youtubers named @PayMoneyWubby and @justdestiny have both addressed the issue on their channels.

@PayMoneyWubby, earlier this year, received a copyright strike to his channel for his video about this topic.

The Musical.ly culture needs to be watched more closely.